Felt hats, flowing hair, topknots and the occasional sarong – and that’s just the fellas. Welcome to The Roadhouse in Byron Bay – a meeting place for fresh faced hipsters, gypsy goddesses, active-wearing yogis and sculpted surfers to indulge their healthy and wholesome lifestyles with Instagram worthy eats and drinks. It’s definitely too cool for school, but don’t let that put you off.
Tucked on the southern outskirts of Byron Bay on Bangalow Road, The Roadhouse is pumping seven days a week from breakfast until close. With plenty of indoor and outdoor seating it is the perfect place to drop into when you don’t feel brave enough to battle the tangle of traffic in town. On top of that, the menu at The Roadhouse – or ‘The Roady’ as the locals know it – is bold, bright and tasty.
Over the past 15 years The Roady site has been home to a variety of eateries but for some reason none of them gained any real traction. Along came The Roadhouse team keen to crack the formula and, with a much needed renovation and a new welcoming courtyard, the venue was popular from the get go. The original Roadhouse included a nighttime whisky bar, which was befitting of the dark and dim corners of the brick and timber interior. However, the whisky is long gone and today the bar is better known for it’s on trend Kombucha Cocktail made on housebrewed Kombucha with quinoa vodka, organic gin or mezcal. Times have changed and I’ve got to say that I love a bar where even the drinks are ‘healthy’!
Food trends change too and right now we are in a really interesting time where food provenance and organic, sustainable foods are a rightful focus. The commendable food philosophy stamped firmly on the menu at The Roady is aligned with this shift:
At The Roadhouse we dedicate our lives to sourcing the highest grade naturally grown local produce. We believe in thriving through sustainable farming and providing nourishing organic wholefoods, ferments and elixirs.
I feel good just reading this! It’s true, the food at The Roady definitely has a local focus and it’s always fresh and nutritious. A new menu has just started as I write this post and I can’t wait to see what’s in store but I have certainly enjoyed my share of tastes from the Summer menu.
For breakfast think of offerings such as local brand Monday Food Co. Paleo Granola served with seasonal fruit, berries and Roady probiotic yoghurt. It’s pretty as a picture! The Coopers Shoot Heirloom Tomato Salad with my personal any time of day favourite ingredient – Meredith Goats Cheese – plus organic sprouts, micro-herbs, Roady dressing and grilled organic sourdough. You can’t beat the Armstrong’s tomatoes for flavour and sweetness. Flying the local flag again is the Taleggio Folded Omlette featuring Hayters Hill free-range egg and taleggio with caramelised onion, peas and grilled paleo Roady bread. Served right through to 11.30am, Roady breakfasts are perfect for a post surf or yoga session refuel.
Lunch comes on at 12.15pm and I struggle to choose every time. My favourite dishes have been The Roadhouse Spiced Fish Tacos with line caught fish, avocado, charred corn salsa, dry smoked jalapeno mayonnaise on organic char grilled corn tortillas. I usually order two to be a lady but I think I could almost give three a nudge. They are fresh and zingy and very addictive. I can also recommend the Jerk Chicken Salad with pulled jerk chicken, allspice and coconut braised kidney beans, topped with jungle slaw and lime. The beans are the bomb and I think I could sit down to a bowl of these on their own! A squeeze of lime juice over everything brings it all together perfectly. Finally, you can’t beat the Nourishing Bowl for a satisfying, feel-good lunch – line caught fish with a herb quinoa and wild rice salad, steamed organic greens, tahini and Roady pickles and ferments. It is so wholesome and so filling you walk out with a glow. Mr GFAF and I usually order two dishes to share so we can taste all the amazing flavours!
Dinner is served from 5.00pm or if you are after something on the lighter side there is a neat little bar bites menu too. Taco Tuesdays are over the top popular with two tacos and a Margerita for $25. Make sure you make a reservation (email@example.com) and be prepared that there may be a bit of a wait for your meal. Sunday Roasts are also popular – with homestyle organic goodness spilling from the plate. The dinner and specials board changes and we most recently enjoyed an Organic Grassfed Scotch Fillet with braised kipfler potatoes, garden salad and jus. One of the steaks was cooked perfectly while the other requested medium rare was all out of pink. A slight slip. To finish we shared a piece of raw cheesecake – the sweets are renowned and another house specialty.
On the drinks side of things all whims are catered for. From the bar there are creative cocktails, beers and a small but strong wine list with all available by the glass – fantastic. There are Cold Elixirs and Tonics such as the green Matcha Milkshake, a Turmeric Think Drink and Cold Pressed Juices. For warm drinks The Roady serves Allpress Coffee and elixirs such as Chai, Hot Cacao and Golden Mylk starring turmeric.
The Roady is open seven days a week from 6.30am for Breakfast (7.00am – 11.30am) and Lunch (12.15pm – 3.00pm) and Dinner six nights a week (5.00pm – 10.00pm Closed Mondays). After 5.00pm it becomes an over 18 venue so sorry no kids for dinner! And heads up that the coffee machine goes off at 3.00pm.
As a patron I feel like The Roadhouse team really treats food with respect. They are dedicated to local, organic produce and the small businesses that supply them and I believe this is a large part of why they have developed a loyal following. Even though I don’t fit the fresh-faced goddess or yogi look I will keep calling into The Roady for my fix of health conscious food with flavour – especially when Byron Bay is a madhouse. And besides, I really need to take a peek at that new menu….